Facebook and Nonprofits: the Evolution Continues
Facebook isn’t the kind of company to stand still – and sometimes its changes (especially to privacy settings and navigation) can drive its power users crazy. That includes nonprofits, which have raced to embrace the “go where the crowd is” ethos of 500,000 million Facebook users. The latest changes are a case in point: the company is moving forcefully to impose its vision for a “social graph” to the rest of the web, encouraging sites to adopt its own tools to link users in an ever-widening network of personal choice. Hence, the suddenly ubiquitous “Like” button – including this site – and a quick move away from the “fans” and “pages” paradigm Facebook did such a great job of establishing. So, if you’ve put hundreds of hours into winning fans for your cause’s Facebook page, you might just sigh with digital frustration.
As usual, the prolific Beth Kanter has a great round-up of Facebook changes and how they effect nonprofits and it’s a must-read for anyone trying to parse them and plan for the coming year (after all, who could predict what the Facebook model and jargon will be next year?). Observes Beth:
The API will allow you “like” something on a web site and all of your friends will get updates to that effect. For example, if the Humane Society had an action alert on its site and added the code for the “like” button and I liked it, all my friends would get updates to that effect. And I would also be able to see if any of my friends looked at other areas of the Humane Society site. This, of course, may not be such a bad thing?
She’s got a bunch of links to follow, and they’re worth reading. Facebook has become the de facto network for most people who simply want to be networked to their real(ish) identity. Nonprofits know they have to be there. So it’s important to adapt – and to move relatively quickly.